What can the Royals expect from Ned Yost?

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Ned Yost.jpgThe Royals’ obsession with former Braves continued when they named Ned Yost to replace Trey Hillman yesterday. Yost was a Braves coach back during the 90s run, and Dayton Moore knows him well.  In that respect this move fits in with other plates of comfort food Moore has ordered like Tony Pena, Jr., Kyle Davies, Horacio Ramirez, Odalis Perez, Bryan Pena.

Of course, contrary to conventional wisdom, those re-acquisitions by Dayton Moore have actually paid off pretty well.  Inspiring moves? Nah. And no, they haven’t resulted in anything spectacular, but they haven’t burnt the team too bad, either because the performance of the acquisition was moderately acceptable or because the cost was not too great.

Which pretty much describes Ned Yost.  Yost was lauded in his early years with the Brewers for creating a good atmosphere for young players. True, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder would have hit under any manager, but a lot of the other guys —  guys like Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, and Bill Hall — got more or less regular playing time and a stable environment in which to play as they came up.  Yost deserves credit for that, and for smootly transitioning the Brewers from a team of bad old players into an up and coming squad during his tenure.

On the other hand, he appeared to lose the Brewers’ clubhouse as those players got a bit older, and some have questioned whether veterans will listen to him.

Yost also had great difficulty managing the Brewers’ bullpen — especially during the team’s collapse down the stretch in 2007 — and appeared to have some problems with his temper and possibly even his sanity, getting tossed out of three games in a week at one point and engaging in a silly war of beanballs and bad blood with the Cardinals when cooler heads would have let it all go.

But pressure isn’t going to be an immediate problem for the Royals, because they’re not in danger of facing any, at least from a baseball perspective, any time soon.  There are a lot of veterans on this team who may try Yost’s patience — Jose Guillen and Yuniesky Bentancourt spring to mind — but it’s not like anyone not named Grienke, Soria or Butler has a lot of room to make waves. Basically anyone is expendable.

The Royals do have an improving farm system and, if he holds on long enough, Yost might be the man to ease the youngins’ transition into the major leagues.  But like I said this morning, I think Yost is a bridge-the-gap guy, and just don’t think he’s going to last long enough to see that really happen.

Still, he’s a pleasant enough fellow to have around for the time being.

Brown hired as general manager of Houston Astros

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HOUSTON — In joining the World Series champion Houston Astros, new general manager Dana Brown’s goal is to keep the team at the top of the league.

“I’m coming to a winning team and a big part of what I want to do is sustain the winning long term,” he said. “We want to continue to build, continue to sign good players, continue to develop players and continue the winning success.”

Brown was hired by the Astros on Thursday, replacing James Click, who was not given a new contract and parted ways with the Astros just days after they won the World Series.

Brown spent the last four seasons as the vice president of scouting for the Atlanta Braves.

“He is very analytic savvy,” Astros’ owner Jim Crane said. “He’s a great talent evaluator based upon what we’ve seen at the Braves, seasoned at player acquisitions, seasoned at player development and retention. They were often able to extend some of their player contracts… he’s got great people skills, excellent communicator and, last but not least, he’s a baseball player and knows baseball in and out and we were very impressed with that.”

The 55-year-old Brown becomes the only Black general manager in the majors and joins manager Dusty Baker to form just the second pairing of a Black manager and general manager in MLB history. The first was general manager Ken Williams and manager Jerry Manuel with the White Sox.

Brown said he interviewed for GM jobs with the Mets and Mariners in the past and that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told him to stay positive and that his time to be a general manager would come.

“It’s pretty special,” he said. “We understand that there are a lot of qualified African Americans in the game that know baseball and that could be a big part of an organization and leading organization in baseball operations. So at the end of the day, I think it’s good for our sport to have diversity and I’m really excited for this opportunity.”

Crane was asked about having the league’s only Black general manager.

“Certainly, we are very focused on diversity with the Astros,” he said. “It’s a plus, but the guy’s extremely qualified and he’ll do a great job. It’s nice to see a man like Dana get the job and he earned the job. He’s got the qualifications. He’s ready to go.”

Brown doesn’t have a lot of connections to the Astros, but does have some ties. He played baseball at Seton Hall with Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who spent his entire career with the Astros and serves as special assistant to the general manager. He played against fellow Hall of Famer and special assistant to the general manager Jeff Bagwell in the Cape Cod league during a short minor league career.

Brown said he spoke to both of them before taking the job and also chatted with Baker, whom he’s know for some time.

“Dusty is old school, he cuts it straight and I like it,” Brown said. “And so that means I can cut it straight with him.”

Brown worked for the Blue Jays from 2010-18 as a special assistant to the general manager. From 2001-09 he worked as director of scouting for the Nationals/Expos. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent eight years as their area scouting supervisor and East coast cross checker.

Click had served as Houston’s general manager since joining the team before the 2020 season from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brown, who has been part of drafting a number of big-name players like Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and last season’s National League rookie of the year Michael Harris, is ready to show Crane that bringing him to Houston was the right choice.

“Baseball is all I know, it’s my entire life,” he said. “So I want to empty myself into this city, the Astro fans and let Jim Crane know that he made a special pick.”